Policy and Advocacy

We achieve our mission by crafting policy recommendations, providing structured advocacy opportunities for our members and allies, as well as networking and empowering youth. Across our four issue areas—Youth Workforce Development, Youth Homelessness, Disconnected Youth and Expanded Learning—DCAYA solicits the input of our membership across the District’s 8 wards, elevates the priorities of youth to policymakers, and provides testimony to the DC Council to raise the consciousness of leadership and secure impactful investments for youth.

Youth Homelessness

Homelessness among youth in the District represents a varied group of young people struggling to secure basic needs while also trying to acquire the skills necessary to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Read this short issue brief to understand the challenges of youth homelessness in the District of Columbia.

Expanded Learning

Expanded Learning is based on the concept that high-quality programming via school-community partnerships can offer a variety of engaging learning activities that build upon the work done during the school day, resulting in greater student achievement and behavioral/ health outcomes.

Youth Workforce Development

Jobs that pay a livable wage in the 21st century economy require workers to have educational credentials, a mix of hard and soft skills and often some form of work experience. Unfortunately, traditional indicators of future labor market success demonstrate that the District’s young people face a steep uphill battle when it comes to achieving this goal.

Disconnected Youth

With nearly 12,000 youth in the District currently disengaged from school and work, the city is experiencing a disconnected youth crisis. These youth must be reconnected to supports and programs that lead them back onto the path of a successful adulthood.


Combined with direct community input, research is at the heart of our work. We strive to make sure that our policy and funding recommendations are based on relevant and quality data and reports. We share our own reports, as well as those which our policy analysts and other staff members come across in their research and work.